Scorers – Harvey, Hancock.
Another week, another drama. Why do people not want to play for the Reserves? We are the only team out of the bottom division at the club, the only team to win any silverware in the past 5 years. You would think people would be champing at the bit to test themselves at a high level and get knocking on the door to the first team! As we waited for the kit to arrive I put this to the team – I asked them if there was something wrong with me, so people just think Skipper Macca is a plum? The silence after this question was deafening, and none of my team-mates could look me in the eye – cheers lads!
West Wickham must have left at about 6am, as they arrived en masse before us. Sly and Leslie nearly gave me a heart attack as they were on time, but unfortunately the kit was not – Mark Carter had got lost in the Bermuda triangle and arrived 20 minutes before kick off with the kit. After a hurried warm up, and a quick chat, we got going. We were keen to continue the good work from last week, and started with the same 442 line up, with Macca, Saunders and Manu coming in for the unavailable Wilson, Woots and Wilding.
First half was a very even affair, with few chances. We had a soak up lots of pressure at the back, but we broke very quickly and caused WW real problems – one such of these resulted in Mike Hubbard coming close to opening the scoring – great work by Les saw him cut it back to a stretching Mike who was unable to get enough contact on the ball to force it past the keeper. There were little other chances of note, but most things were coming through WW’s physical striker.
The first ten minutes of the second half saw us on the wrack. Mike made 3 top class saves to keep us in the game, the best of which was a stunning tip over the bar that he really had no right to save. Just before the hour a misplaced pass (Simmo!!) was intercepted by the WW forward who burst through the defence and was unceremoniously hacked down by Steve a good 2 yards outside the area, but the penalty was awarded. Mike pulled off a stunning penalty save, diving down to his left to parry before we hacked the ball away. At this point you were able to see WW visibly deflate. 5 minutes later we took the lead – great play by Les on the right saw the keeper make a save from Mike Hubbard, but his parry fell to Karnell at the edge of the area who battered it home into the bottom corner. Great goal and 1-0 AP.
WW came at us again, but we defended resolutely – Mike was plucking crosses out of the air and Macca, Simmo and Jeator were repelling anything that came near them. Steve made way for new boy Casper, who made a stunning saving header. It was also great to see Jay Hughes back in action after a long injury lay-off.
With 15 to go we added a second – with similar build up play to the first, the ball broke out to Richie Hancock on the edge of the area who curled one into the bottom corner – another superb finish. Yet again WW came at us but we were very strong at the back – effectively now playing a back 5 with Ben helping out continuously in the amazing shift he put in. There was still time for a light hearted moment when Macca ran into a shed a nearly pole axed himself!
All in all a great performance. We have beaten the 2 teams that were playing division 1 football last season, so really can use this as a springboard. We are forming a strong team spirit, so onto next week!
MOTM – 13 heroic performances, but I can’t look beyond Mike O’Donnell as his keeping sucked the confidence out of WW and won us the game.